Alison booked us an AirBNB in Karekare, which is only about 50 minutes from Auckland. We rented a car here and drove to the coast. When we arrived, the email said to be sure to walk up the drive to see what you are up against. It was dark. I walked up the hill and nearly died as it was literally straight up and then had a sharp left turn also uphill. The little Ford Focus was already overloaded with 4 nearly grown people and all our bags. Not to mention we just bought 4 sleeping bags at the Warehouse.
I got the kids to get out and walk. I punched it and up we went! The car was spinning out and traction control kicked in a couple times but it actually made it up the hill pretty easily. This was our first hint that we were coming to New Zealand’s Walker Mountain.
If you don’t know Walker Mountain, this was a few years of our life In Cookeville which were amazing but difficult due to us living in a house on an impractical plot of land in a crazily built “house”. You either loved it or hated it and we loved it. And we hated it. But mostly we loved it.
This house in New Zealand has rainwater collection–only read that after Alison exclaimed it’s so good to drink the water from the tap again! Ummm…says here you should boil it first.
The person who lives here has an amazing musical taste–meaning it is similar to mine. I’ve never seen a better vinyl collection–every Bob Dylan album, Toots and the Maytals, Miles Davis, the Smiths, Van Morrison–I could go on forever, but this was fun to play all of these ON VINYL. There was also a guitar. I was so excited.
We made it to bed, but our time was off. We woke up at 2 pm the next day. Oops.
The nice thing is the days are long in the New Zealand summer. Ella and I didn’t figure out our trip until 5:15 and still made it back as the sun was setting.
We all hiked to Karekare falls first.
Alison was going to put on a full boot for the first time. She did well, but it was hurting and she decided to hangout with Walden on the beach. When he saw the surfing and waves he grabbed a boogie board and played in the surf.
Ella was really wanting to hike and so we decided to do that together.
We quickly climbed steeply up above the beach.
The views kept getting better. It was a warm day in the sun, but perfect in the shade.
The landscapes are obviously gorgeous, but the flora has been equally interesting.
We climbed and eventually leveled out. We hiked the Zion Hill Track to the Buck Taylor Track to the Pararaha Valley track.
We eventually came out near some lagoons.
Boardwalks led through this area and there were several different types of birds here.
Spotted a couple Black Swans which were interesting.
Something big is out here.
We followed the Hillary Trail through the dunes and it seemed like we would never get out of here.
Finally made it to the beach and could recognize our goal and starting point.
We found Walden and Alison hanging out in the tree. They had a great time at the beach.
Then as we left this shot from the parking lot appeared. It was magical lighting and a beautiful end to our first day in New Zealand.